tv [untitled] February 17, 2012 12:18pm-12:48pm PST
that is what i am going to be doing in all my years is making sure everyone can be here. [applause] we are recognizing the celebrates the spirit of our african-american experience, the contributions that everyone has made to our great city to make sure it is a diversity. that is why i moved here. it is why you moved here. that is why so many of her friends decided it would make their mark here in our city because of our diversity. this year's theme could be no less important. black women and american history and culture. absolutely. and it is particularly poignant that it highlights african- americans experiences through their patriotism, through their labor, leadership, motherhood,
intellect, and artistic expression. all of us regardless of ethnic origin or social and economic background have benefited from the contributions of these women. in the american culture, menino of the historical accomplishments of the african- american women, phyllis wheatley, harriet tubman, leader of underground railroad. ida wells, the unyielding upon it to a lynching. rosa parks, of course, the mother of the modern civil rights movement and on and on. gwendolyn brooks, tommy morrison -- toni morrison. wonderful writers. awe still have a ways to go, we hav a long ways to go.
as an author to have helped our human rights commission read the agenda we have a ways to go. [applause] that is why i look at the audience, i see a lot of people that will help us get there. our board of supervisors are here, our other elected officials, the treasure is here. members from all the other communities are here. because it is not just something the african-american community can do. the chinese -- a chinese person can help with the advantage to agenda. a latino person can help. a korean person can help. a gay person can help. everyone can help accomplish the unfinished agenda for everyone. i often talk about partnerships. we have to partner with our african-american community to
get things done and that will be the only correct way to get things done. is that partnership. [applause] so when i make announcements, when the board of supervisors and we pass legislation, we're always going to do it with a commitment in our minds that there is a partnership with our african-american community to get things done in the city. whether i am talking about jobs, and we have a partner on jobs, whether i am talking about creating a housing trust fund, when i am talking about hope sf, anything that is of any innovation or anything that fulfills a historic promise that the city made to our african and american community. we have to partner with our youth and african-american parents and communities and
african american owned businesses. all that has to be done together. i will commit to you -- [applause] this is not to me just a celebration. although very important to recognize. it is an ongoing way that we do business and think and live in the city. we live in partnerships. we help -- to lift each other. i get that opportunity as the first asian mayor. it is my turn to help lift up the african-american community and find talent where it is and create hope and make sure we're all safe at the same time where we're becoming successful. at this time, i want to lie in partnership ask our supervisor malia cohen to come up and share this proclamation presentation. .
we're going to present it well deserving proclamation proclaims this black history month but i am giving it to someone that iowa's held in great esteem and had a chance to work with him on understanding better the history but also even engaging him in research we did a few years ago to discover and uncover where those banks across the country, what are they doing to help us with people who have suffered for so many years in a generation to create new programs and fund them. so with this, with this recognition and i join this with our city administrator as well, to present the proclamation to mr. al williams
declaring this black history month in san francisco. [applause] and now, ladies and gentlemen, something you have been awaiting for and for me pretty special, we have a keynote speaker today, but she is not only justice speaker, she is someone that i think it exemplifies the theme of this year's black history month fame. black women and american history and culture. someone who i now working in partnership with this community
and all the other communities will set about to make history in the city for many generations to come. dedicated public servant. obviously a personal friend and someone who has had deep roots in our community and also my nominee for a city administrator of the city and county of san francisco. please welcome your keynote speaker, naomi kelly. [applause] >> thank you. good afternoon, everyone. thank you, mr. mayor. thank you, al williams, thank you reverend. it was great to see charles r.
drew here. he was a member of my mother's family. we celebrate our family reunions in the summer. they are there and iti is great to see the school year. it is my great pleasure and honor to kick off the 2012 black history month and to share some reflection about black women and american culture and history. the publication, black history bulletin, recently devoted an entire issue to the subject and in their forward, to blackmuns dollars attributed these characteristics to black woman in america. unshakable, conflating sacrifice -- on flinching
sacrifice. we know about countless women from the past to the present who have lived their lives in this way. in fact, like many of you come out my political and educational and historical education started with my family. my consciousness about being black and being proud began with the luminous woman in my life will comprise my roots, my fulcrum and my foundation. my fraternal grandmother, her father was born a slave and later became an owner of a farm in virginia. in prince edward county, virginia. this was the county that was the site of a 1951 protest led by black students to persuade their local school board to build them a better school. it also led in part to the landmark civil rights place -- decision, brown vs. board of
education. my grandmother and her sisters realized early on that education was important for their survival. their unshakeable persistence and unflinching sacrifice led them to better lives. not only did they had -- have to do with racism but the belief that a woman's place was in the home and in this case on the farm doing the chores like cooking, cleaning, milking the cow and cutting wood. this is the 1930's. you have to cut wood for everything. as i mentioned earlier prince edward county was not interested in educating colored children but my grandmother and her sisters were persistent and found a school in the neighboring county of appomattox which was down the street from the courthouse where general robert e. lee surrendered to general ulysses s. grant that ended the civil war. once they found that school that
had the next calabash task of convincing their father they should go to school. and the way they convinced him was by saying we will take care of the chores on the farm. we will do that work and our school will not interfere with the business of the farm. they did this and that was no easy task because my great- grandfather ruled his farm with an iron fist. yet to me, this was -- there are an example of their unshakeable persistence and unflinching sacrifice for their pursuit for a better life. as i determined black women left their home and saw entertainment in washington, d.c.. and they knew the value men -- the value of education. there were able to buy their homes and support their families. another woman in my life who demonstrates unshakeable persistence and unflinching sacrifice is my mother who is
sitting over there with my son. [applause] she kept her eyes on the prize that is education. as well -- and was well aware of education and its importance for the future of black america. my mom was educated from kindergarten through eighth grade in washington, d.c.. which is recognized as the mother church of all black catholics. washington, d.c. was south of the transfer -- the mason decisiodixon line. st. augustine was established in the late 1850's during the separate but equal and in most cases on equal time. this school was started by the first order of black roman catholic nuns, the oblate sisters of providence out of baltimore, maryland. their purpose was to educate
black children. these nuns persistence and unflinching sacrifice influence my mother's life and my life. my mother was in high school when the march on washington occurred. the weeks leading up to the march, my mother participated in many peaceful demonstrations and picket lines in front of the white house. again, this is another example of unshakable persistence and sacrifice. she did this being afraid and not reacting when the white agitators were spitting on her and her girlfriend. it was important for her to peacefully continue in her fight for justice and civil rights. i mother was the first to obtain a college degree and went on to an education in education that lasted for decades. my work ethic was derived from
her. when you are the daughter of a teacher and administrator i had a front row seat to watching a woman at work in the classroom. most of all, i would -- i truly mean this and the gravity of this hit me last week when i was before commission -- rules committee. i'm humbled and thankful for the many african-american women here who have paved the way for me, naomi kelly. supervisor kennedy who is here in the audience with us. supervisor doris war. attorney-general harris. judge terry jackson. amelia ward. i am thankful to this woman who embraced me when i started my professional career in san francisco. glendower richardson, carol tatum, and so many of you are
here in this audience and i am grateful for my contemporaries who are my sisters and rock. from supervisor malia cohen, karen roy, and lindon. i have found my place here and i have mentioned, i began my career here in 1996 with mayer brown. i realized then in my 20's that i needed to pursue higher education. and it helped the mayor said he would never give me a raise or promotion on till i went back to school. i enrolled in the university of san francisco law school. i got my j.d. and pass the bar. -- passed the gar. -- bar. [applause] san francisco has been my home. six years ago i was married here on the steps almost six years
ago to this month. [applause] some are clapping, some are not. [laughter] it has been a fundamental time for my family and i having been nominated. by mayor ed lee and i am grateful to that community and i am grateful to the mayor and the board of supervisors who are considering this nomination. i vow to do the best job i possibly can for the city and i have -- as i have done from the outset of my city career. i will continue to draw inspiration and guidance from the black woman in our history and culture who have paved the way for me and others with their relentless fight against prejudice and intolerance and hate. there consummate energy, intelligence, and courage and their unshakeable persistence, unflinching sacrifice and unwavering faith. i have angels on my shoulder and they're my sisters.
thank you and i wish you a happy and joyful black history celebration. [applause] thank you. >> thank you for those profound words. now, for all of you whose names were mentioned by naomi in her remarks, we split up the list so she covered half the room. i am not going to announce it. there are a few other people. mohamad in the public works department, rhonda simmons, give them all around of applause as well.
at this time we have a special presentation. for naomi. bill hoskins. [applause] >> did afternoon. >> this is a treat to be able to present this to our keynote speaker. and on behalf of the african american historical and cultural society and the board, i was sitting there enjoying your presentation. also thinking that there could not be a better match for today's title of which we all know. i wanted to , when al williams was describing and introducing
attorney naille kellie -- naomi kelly, he mentioned she had made and still is and will in the future make valuable contributions that will -- we will all benefit from. he suggested she should be honored and was picked to be the keynote speaker not because she is a woman or because she is african-american. not because she is incredibly capable but they left out two things. she is young and she is beautiful. so again on behalf of the african american historical and cultural society and board, it is a pleasure to present this to you. >> thank you. [applause]
>> ok, with that -- we have judge monica riley. and a number of commissioners. please stand. thank you for being here. we will now have a musical presentation by the amira project. [applause] >> the afternoon, everyone. can you hear me? now you can hear me? all right. i will make my interjections brief. you have been hearing for july afternoon and we're going to do some is secure.
that is voice of freedom. we celebrate the roots aof faith and freedom. spirituals are the root of most african american history. and music. it is important to know where the spirituals come from. the music came from africa. there are slave testimonies to the fact that music came from africa. and so that is the root of african-american music which is renowned around the world. the other thing that happened is that in the u.s. especially, we lost the ability to use the drum. we did not lose the ability to use rhythm. the -- which is the most direct link to africa, we use the staff
and hand clapping. we are going to do a song that will become familiar to me -- to you in a moment. it was put together by our musical director who is holding the staff. and our soloists will be carolyn and nedra. when i ask you to join in, i want you to help us out. all right? thank you very much. [applause] [singing]